AOL, PurchasePro Accelerate B2B Efforts

America Online, Inc. (AOL) and business-to-business (B2B) solution provider PurchasePro have completed 10 new strategic agreements, including deals with Hewlett-Packard Company, and Spherion Corporation, to accelerate their B2B and e-commerce efforts and to jointly-develop AOL’s Netscape Netbusiness Marketplace.

The Netbusiness Marketplace is an e-commerce network of hundreds of communities and marketplaces that allows small, medium and large businesses to buy, sell and interact online. Netbusiness is also driving small business membership on the Marketplace through its Netbusiness Card, which provides detailed information about each member’s products, services, location and industry classification to millions of potential customers online.

These initiatives will be supported by a joint sales, marketing and advanced product development effort to rapidly grow the Marketplace in an attempt to make it one of the leading destinations for B2B e-commerce. The joint sales team will include both the PurchasePro sales force and the AOL Interactive Marketing Group.

The joint sales force will offer prospective partners a turnkey marketplace solution that provides businesses with a new distribution channel and procurement process. The joint AOL-PurchasePro product development team will leverage AOL’s technologies to add enhanced features and services to the Marketplace.

The announcement builds on PurchasePro’s previously announced expanded offline promotion and marketing efforts. These efforts began with the launch of a Netbusiness television advertising campaign that began on CNN properties earlier this month and will also include promotions in Fortune Small Business and e-Company Now.

“The small business revolution on the Internet has begun, and small businesses everywhere are finding new ways to communicate with their customers and suppliers. PurchasePro’s platform and expertise in building business-to-business marketplaces will be a key part of this new revolution, and we’re pleased and excited to be making them such a significant part of AOL’s and Netscape’s services,” said Barry Schuler, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Dulles, Va.-based AOL.

Added Charles E. Johnson Jr., chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas, Nev.-based PurchasePro, “One of the keys to building a successful business-to-business network is interoperability. PurchasePro’s capacity to power businesses of all sizes, and its ability to link hundreds of marketplaces — and millions of business users — in a complete buyside/sellside application, provides partners and members with a broader reach to a wider range of audiences. This ‘network effect’ is a driving force in the success of the Marketplace, and an important catalyst in our expanding relationship with AOL.”

AOL and PurchasePro have also joined with a broad range of partners to create unique vertical marketplaces.

Announced agreements include BroadVision, Inc., a supplier of personalized e-business applications; TheThread, a provider of collaborative supply chain management and e-purchasing solutions for the fashion industry; Plant America, a resource for the lawn and landscape industry; Viva Magnetics Limited, the world’s largest CD-Rom replicator, also offering specialty CD packaging services; eFruit, a global electronic marketplace for buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities; and ProfitScape, a provider of an automated payment solution which facilitates B2B online transactions through financial institutions such as GMAC B2B Credit.

AOL is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Inc. and maintains its major site at PurchasePro has a site at

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